Just as he’d said he’d do, Cole called Jordyn when he was leaving school after the football team’s bus had returned.
Jordyn felt butterflies as she slipped her phone back in her pocket. She was sitting on Alice’s bed, the other three girls glancing at her expectantly.
“Soo, uhm, I gotta go.”
Erin beamed. “Aww! Our little Jordyn!!” Dramatically, she locked her arms around Jordyn’s neck, pulling her into a tight hug.
Jordyn laughed and pushed Erin away. “Stop. I’m only sleeping over. You guys, I’m sure nothing will even happen.”
“What if does?” Bethany asked. “Like, what if it starts going in that direction. What are you gonna do?”
Jordyn just shrugged. She didn’t answer. She knew she wouldn’t let it go too far. They’d only been dating for two weeks, after all. But in those two weeks, she’d gotten so comfortable with Cole she didn’t know exactly how far she wanted anything to go tonight.
But she was thinking ahead of herself. They had plans to hang out, watch movies and just be together tonight. They hadn’t talked about any big steps, and Jordyn wasn’t about to broach the subject. She didn’t want to seem desperate, because she absolutely wasn’t. But if he went for it, she wasn’t sure what she would do. Not yet.
Twenty minutes later, Jordyn was pulling her car—yes, her car—into Cole’s driveway. He had the porch light on for her, but like she already knew, no one except him was home.
She grabbed her duffel bag from the back seat of her new old 1999 Honda Civic, and started across the yard and onto the front porch. She’d barely lifted her finger to ring the doorbell when the door opened and Cole was standing there smiling.
“Come on in,” he said with a smile, pushing open the screen door.
She greeted him with a long, lingering kiss, then took a moment to look at her surroundings. She’d never been to Cole’s house before, but she liked it. It was pretty small, but it was cozy, friendly, and clean. The place smelled like cinnamon, and there was even a deer head over the fireplace. She knew already that Cole and his dad liked to go hunting.
“I love your house,” Jordyn said.
“It’s alright,” Cole chuckled.
On the wall, Jordyn saw a painted portrait of Cole’s family. It was older, Cole was maybe 12. She knew Cole had an older sister, Sara, who was twenty-five, but there was a boy in this family portrait, an older version of Cole.
“Is this you?” she teased, pointing at the young boy.
Cole chuckled. “Yeah. I was twelve. That’s Sara, the one my parents are in Philadelphia with, and that’s my brother, Josh.”
“I didn’t know you had a brother,” Jordyn commented.
“Yeah, well, I sort of don’t anymore. He died two months after this portrait was painted.”
Jordyn’s heart felt heavy at that admission. “Aw, Cole. I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
“It’s OK,” Cole said. “It took them, my parents, like two years to actually put that portrait up after that.”
“What happened, if you don’t mind my asking,” Jordyn said cautiously.
“Car accident. His senior year. One of his friends was driving, and he was speeding. Three of them died instantly, the other one died later at the hospital.”
“Oh my gosh. That is awful. I’m so sorry, Cole.”
“It’s OK. I mean, we’re all OK now. It’s still hard sometimes, of course, but ever since then, I don’t take anything for granted.”
Jordyn thought about it. She took a lot of people in her life for granted. There was no way she’d be able to deal if something like that happened to Ty.
“Enough with the grimness,” he said, putting his hands on her shoulders and squeezing. “I’m happy you’re here. Come on. I’ll go put your stuff in my room.”
“OK,” Jordyn said, following him down the hall to his bedroom.
Before going in, she expected Cole’s room to be a shrine to football, trophies everyway, posters of NFL players. She was wrong. Besides a few trophies and one game football on the dresser, it was a fairly plain bedroom with dark blue wall, a few clothes scattered here and there, and a full-sized, unmade bed.
“Welcome to Casa de Cole,” he said, dropping her duffel bag on the floor. “I would have cleaned up a bit for you, but I’m an honest guy. Thought you should see the real me.”
Jordyn chuckled, walking around her room. “I have two brothers, remember. A few pair of, uhm, boxers, on the floor, don’t bother me.”
She walked to his small entertainment center, sifting through his DVDs. She recognized a few titles. He had things like Fast and Furious, a few horror flicks, some classics like Forrest Gump and Sling Blade. Then she spotted the gun case in the corner, where was not one, but three shot guns. Like big ones. Big Elmer Fudd style shotguns.
“Whoa,” she said, looking at them. Her dad was a cop so she’d seen guns before. Small guns. But these monsters looked like they could blow a hole through the side of this house.
He chuckled. “Maybe I’ll take you hunting with me.”
She got this visual of herself with a pack of wolves, running after an antelope, or whatever animal they went after, in loincloths, while Cole ran in front of her also in a loincloth. Weird image, but she was from San Diego. No one hunted in San Diego.
“Maybe,” she said skeptically. She doubt that she would though. She glanced at an older picture of a kid in a uniform. “Aw, Cole! Is this you?”
Cole chuckled and rolled his eyes. “Yeah. My very first year playing football. I was four.”
“Look how cute you were!”
Cole laughed and playfully shoved her shoulder. “Shut up.”
“But Cole. You’re adorable!”
“Yeah, yeah,” he said, walking over and pressing his lips to hers, grabbing her wrists.
Oh, but she loved kissing him. He tasted like Listerine, and he smelled fresh out of the shower.
Once they were on the bed, Cole pulled away, looking down at her as he stroked her hair from in front of her eyes. “Jordyn, I promise. We won’t go any further than you want to. OK?”
Jordyn just nodded, and pulled him back to her. Only problem was, she wasn’t sure how far she wanted to go.